Evergreen Park mayor decries culture of crime

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

funeral crowd photo 2-22

                                                                    Photo by Dermot Connolly

First responders and civilians stood outside for hours to salute as the hearse carrying the body of slain Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer as it passed through the gates of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Saturday.


It was a case of “no holds barred” at the Evergreen Park Village Board meeting on Monday night as Mayor James Sexton spoke his mind about the shooting death last week of Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer.

“People may say that I am prejudiced about our police, but that is OK. I come from a long line of family members in law enforcement and so does my wife. So, yes, I am prejudiced about law officers who lay their lives on the line every day to protect our citizens,” Sexton said.

Sexton read from a newspaper clipping he had copied and presented to the board members regarding the lengthy police record held by the suspect, Shomari Legghette, charged in the murder of Bauer.

“This guy is nothing but a scumbag who is not worthy of being called by name and he should never have been back on the street.”

Reciting how many times the suspect had been arrested, sentenced to prison, and then released on probation, Sexton said, “We are going in the wrong direction with this. We have this liberal system that thinks a little marijuana is OK. Well, if a small bag of dope is OK, then a bigger bag will be OK and before we know it, people will be carrying 40 pounds of dope around in the car and it will be OK. Small things start to balloon and then it leads to bigger things.”

Sexton referred to a statement made by Bauer just weeks before he was killed in the line of duty.

“This is how I look at it, I want them off the street,” Sexton said.

The mayor added that the system is a complete mess and only getting worse.

“Our police arrest these criminals, they are charged with an offense, it goes to court and the judge sets the sentence and then they end up back on the streets,” Sexton said. “The system is a complete mess and only getting worse. It needs to be stopped.”

The mayor then turned his attention to the fire department.

“I have praised our police and I can’t overlook the excellent work of our fire department,” Sexton said.

He praised the 2017 annual report presented by Fire Chief Ron Kleinhaus, which reflected that the department responded to 758 fire incidents and 2,461 EMS incidents for a total of 3,219 calls for service in 2017.

“These numbers reflect an increase of 136 responses over our 2016 totals,” Kleinhaus. said.

“Once again, we are pleased to report another year without civilian injuries or death as a result of structure fires, an on-going testament to our fire prevention and public education efforts,” he said.

On a lighter note, the report also included the information that at the request of NBC Television, two fire department vehicles -- Truck Co. 75 and Engine Co. 118 -- reprised their roles as “extras” for the series finale of “Chicago Fire.”

In other business, an ordinance was approved for the reservation of Volume Cap in connection with private activity bond issues and related matters. The approval is done annually to allow the village to sell any surplus bonds in the amount of $10,000.

Also approved was an ordinance providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds, series 2018, and for the levy of a direct annual tax sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds. Sexton said the action was to help pay for the new community center.

Other approvals included a payout to architect Craig Podalak in the amount of $48,400 for architectural services, and a business certificate for Eyebrow Threading Place at 3342 W. 95th St.